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Damask designs

zoom inDamask designs

Calamanco fabric

zoom inCalamanco fabric

Diamond worsted

zoom inDiamond worsted

Norwich Worsted Textiles 18th c


For the information gathered so far my thanks to: Frank Gardiner; Juliette Van Seters; Berit Eldvik, curator of costume, Nordisk Museum; Gieneke Arnolli, Fries Museum; my neighbours Romee Day and Carien Van Der Hoop, for helping with translation; Edwina Ehrman, Claire Browne and Susan North at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

1 The Woollen Industry of South-West England by Kenneth G Ponting (1971 Adam & Dart)
2 Aangekleed Gaat Uit. Streekkleding en cultuur in Noord-Holland 1750-1900 by Havermans-Dikstaal, M; (All Dressed Up. Regional Dress and culture in North Holland 1750-1900 by Havermans-Dikstaal, M). 1998, only published in Dutch.
3 Ibid
4 Mode in Friesland 1750-1950 (Fashion in Friesland 1750-1950)

Calamanco or Kalamink is a Spanish word meaning a worsted material, with a fine gloss ie calendered or glazed. There were many types of calamanco and they could be brocaded, clouded, figured, flowered, mock striped, shaded, sprigged, striped white and white flowered or plain. These fabrics were produced in vast quantities for the export market. An account of 1802 describes the brilliance of calimancoes, satins and brilliants:
This manufacture was peculiar to Norwich, and the colours employed were said to surpass any others dyed in Europe.

Calendering - the glaze or shine on the cloth was achieved by putting the completed fabric through heated cylinders or boards. This process makes the fabric dirt resistant and therefore stronger. The instrument for calendaring is composed of two thick cylinders or rollers of very hard and polished wood, round which the stuffs to be calendered are wound: these rollers are placed crosswise, between two very thick boards, the lower serving a fixed base, and the upper moveable, by means of a thick screw, with a rope fastened to a spindle, which makes it’s axis: the uppermost board is loaded with large stones cemented together, weighing twenty thousand pounds or more. It is this weight that gives the polished and glazed finish.

Damask – a thick reversible fabric, woven from silk, flax or wool. The ground and pattern are formed by different bindings of the same warp and weft. Wool damask was used for upholstery. The name is derived from Damascus, Syria where the most beautiful damask was woven from the twelfth century onwards.

Strangers – or 'aliens' from Wallonia, southern part of Belgium. Walloons were German speaking, due to invasion, and the word Walha means stranger.

Stuff – a general term for worsted cloths. Twill or plain weave and made of common wool.

Taborets – shaded and striped worsteds found in late eighteenth century Norwich merchants’ sample books.

Worsted – lightweight cloth made of long-staple combed wool yarn. The name is derived from the village of Worsted near Norwich, a centre for worsted weaving. The word is synonymous with crewel wools. The expansion of the Norwich trade immediately after the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 is particularly noticeable writes Kenneth G Ponting in The Woollen Industry of South-West England Adams & Dart 1971

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